Reading List

Tariffs, TPP, Tokes and Terrorism.

Trade law news roundup from Law360:

  • Panama wins a WTO case against Guatemala as the latter failed to show that its increased tariffs were justified on the grounds of money laundering prevention.
  • IMF allows the Chinese Renminbi (RMB) to be included in the “Special Drawing Right” category of currencies from October next year, joining the Dollar, Euro, Yen and the Pound. These currencies are supposed to play a role in providing global financial liquidity, especially in times of economic crisis.
  • The ISDS provisions in the TTIP, a massive free trade agreement between the US and EU, are causing regular uproars in the latter’s public domain. Leading arbitrators have joined in the criticism bandwagon. US-EU are also, as of now, sparring over information-sharing issues.
  • Being an active global trader, the EU is pushing for a proposal eliminating trade-distorting agricultural subsidies to be presented at the Tenth WTO Ministerial Conference at Nairobi (Kenya) from 15 to 18 December. Supporters of the proposal include Brazil, Argentina and Peru. As mentioned earlier, agriculture has become an important priority for the Union, notwithstanding the fact that the issue is one of the main reasons for the Doha deadlock. While some countries (like the EU) want to keep the discussion at Nairobi narrow in terms of issues to be solved, others like Chile want to expand the meeting’s agenda to include matters like E-Commerce and Competition. What makes more sense – trying to quickly conclude the stalled Doha talks by focusing on a small number of items or utilising the historic opportunity that is the WTO’s 10th Ministerial Conference to undertake a bold, sweeping discussion agenda? I would put my money on the former.
  • South Korea-China FTA is finalised in SK’s parliament by a vote of 196-33 with 36 odd abstentions. Both countries hope it will boost exports between them. A response by China to its exclusion from the TPP? Possibly. But there’s also news on President Obama and President Xi Jinping having met at the sidelines of the Paris environment summit to discuss trade and cyber-security issues.
  • Corruption controversies erupt in business circles in Latin America.
  • “Made in USA” gets apparel-manufacturers into trouble. Jean makers and Nordstrom Inc. are paying $4 million to settle a case against them regarding falsely marketed “Made in USA” products.
  • US FedCircuit decision in ClearCorrect, regarding the US International Trade Commission’s ability to restrict articles infringing American IP, comes under scrutiny.
  • Barracuda Networks Inc. gets fined $1.5 million for selling web filtering and other software to countries like Iran, Syria and Sudan despite anti-terrorism trade sanctions. The WTO-legality of such export restrictions would indeed make for an interesting discussion topic.
  • After the Eli Lilly debacle, Canada faces a first-of-its-kind NAFTA claim regarding the setting up of a Marijuana Facility. More on this here. And by the way, though E-Cigarettes are apparently included in the TPP “tobacco carve-out”, what about such Marijuana claims? Or are they two different things?

In other news, Professor Marc Weller talks about UN Security Council Resolution 2249(2015) regarding the fight against ISIL in Syria. Some more on the country’s ever-increasing tragedy can be found here. Also, the only two Western ISIS-friendly countries (at least according to Twitter and Anonymous) are interestingly the US and UK.

Also, on the home front, check out my friend Nakul Nayak’s take on hate speech in the recent Bihar elections.

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